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Care of the Elderly (Buckinghamshire)

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will make a statement on funding for the care of the elderly in Buckinghamshire. [12390]

Jacqui Smith: I recognise the importance of ensuring that appropriate health and social services are available for older people. Buckinghamshire health authority's spending on packages of care for older people has risen significantly year on year for the past three years. Spending on older people's services within Buckinghamshire social services department is slightly above the average spent on other client groups. The joint review of social services, carried out by the social services inspectorate and the Audit Commission, will be reviewing Buckinghamshire shortly.

On 9 October, my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State announced £300 million extra funding for local authorities to tackle bed blocking. Buckinghamshire was recognised as a local authority needing extra help and this year was given over £700,000 from that extra funding.

Dry Rot

Mr. Don Foster: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what recent guidance he has given to local councils on the treatment of dry rot and on which chemicals are permitted for its treatment. [12893]

Jacqui Smith: The Department has issued no such guidance to local authorities. Pesticide approvals for the treatment of dry rot are the responsibility of the Health and Safety Executive.

Consultation Documents

Sandra Gidley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many consultation documents were issued by his Department from (a) 15 October to 14 January, (b) 15 January to 14 April, (c) 15 April to 14 July and (d) 15 July to 14 October in each year from 1996. [12902]

Jacqui Smith: During the period 1996–2001, the following number of consultation documents were issued by the Department.

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15 January to 14 April03201112
15 April to 14 July204377
15 July to 14 October2034725
15 October to 14 January31167(10)4

(10) For the period 15–31 October 2001 only

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MMR Vaccine

Dr. Fox: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the levels of uptake among two-year olds of MMR were in each NHS region in each quarter of the last five years. [12728]

Jacqui Smith [holding answer 6 November 2001]: Data on measles, mumps and rubella uptake collected by the Public Health Laboratory service communicable disease surveillance centre are shown in the table.


Year and QuarterEasternLondonNorth WestNorth and YorkshireSouth EastSouth WestTrentWest Midlands


Data collected through the PHLS CDSC's cover programme. Data are presented by quarter of the financial year (that is, quarter one runs from 1 April to 30 June, quarter two from 1 July to 30 September and so on).


Mr. Jack: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many more consultants, broken down by specialty, will be appointed by 2004, above the number in post in 2000. [13059]

Mr. Hutton [holding answer 8 November 2001]: The NHS plan stated there would be 7,500 more consultants in post in 2004 than in 1999. By September 2000, the number of consultants in post had already increased by 1,100 to around 24,300. The national health service is currently drawing up plans by specialty to deliver the rest of the increase, a further 6,400 posts by 2004, which will be targeted towards the key specialties needed to deliver the commitments in the NHS plan. Information for the year to September 2001 will be available in February 2002.

Mr. Jack: To ask the Secretary of State for Health from which sources extra consultants will come in accordance with targets for 2004 detailed in the NHS Plan. [13060]

Mr. Hutton [holding answer 8 November 2001]: Around 6,500 of the 7,500 increase will come from doctors currently working in the national health service, not in consultant posts. The rest will come from international recruitment and improved retention of existing consultants.

Nursing Care

Mr. Burns: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) when he expects the assessments to be completed on those patients who were receiving nursing care on 1 October but had not yet been assessed for free nursing care; [13151]

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Jacqui Smith: The guidance on free nursing care in nursing homes was published on 25 September. This, and the accompanying directions to the national health service, set out the arrangements for health authorities and primary care trusts to carry out determinations of registered nursing care contribution (RNCC) for those eligible for free nursing care from 1 October. They should use their best endeavours to ensure that these are completed by the end of December and should agree the arrangements for making payments to nursing homes in respect of self-funding residents with effect from 1 October. The guidance also emphasised the need to process invoices from nursing homes as promptly as possible.

A survey carried out over the summer by the Department revealed that there were over 42,000 people in nursing homes responsible for funding their own care. While a small number of determinations were planned to take place before 1 October, the vast majority will have taken place after then.

The guidance acknowledges that, in some cases, individuals will be identified through the assessment and RNCC process who have exceptional long term needs for nursing care, both in amount and type, that do not meet local criteria for NHS continuing health care. The national health service has a similar responsibility to arrange or fund the services that individuals in nursing homes need as they would if they were receiving treatment in any other setting.

Mr. Burns: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) if he will make a statement on the type of training being given to nurses responsible for carrying out assessments for free nursing care; and how long the training lasts; [13153]

Jacqui Smith: A programme of nurse training began in every region of England at the beginning of September and, by the end of October, a total of approximately 800 nurses had received training in carrying out the registered nursing care contribution (RNCC). The training lasted a full day and was supported by a practitioner guide published by the Department.

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Apart from these national health service nurses, the guidance on free nursing care in nursing homes sets out the roles of lead nurses and nursing home co-ordinators who will also be involved in the process for implementing free nursing care. In some cases, nurses employed by nursing homes may also be involved in the determination. A single nurse will usually carry out the RNCC unless the individual has specific and special needs. In certain cases, a separate continence assessment may need to be carried out by a continence adviser at a later date.

Mr. Burns: To ask the Secretary of State for Health for what reasons those suffering from dementia and Alzheimer's are not eligible for free nursing care. [13242]

Jacqui Smith: Anyone currently in a nursing home with a need for care from a registered nurse and who is paying towards that care should have it paid for by the national health service following a determination carried out by an NHS nurse under the arrangements for free nursing care introduced on 1 October. This applies equally to those with Alzheimer's disease and dementia as it does to other conditions.

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